Below is the text of my e-mail to the CEO of a very large, very well-known computer manufacturer. I used to work for this company. The name of the company and some revealing details have been removed, since I don’t wish to be sued, and because including it would also clearly provide information about my real-life identity that has no place in a blog.
As a 10 year former employee of _____ and a long-time ________ customer, I would like to take this time to provide some feedback to you regarding my recent experience with ________ Customer Care. I bear no ill will toward ________ for my lay-off, so please understand that this is not the source of my frustration. (removed text to protect the innocent) It’s disappointing, certainly, but neither surprising nor a source of anger. I am, however, the owner of four ________ desktops of varying ages and (removed text to protect the innocent), as well, all of which are still in operation and constant use in my home. So, as a dedicated ________ consumer, I find my Customer Care experience to be an example of the opposite – an indication that ________ does not care about customers. Let me explain:
About 10 days ago, my son’s _____ computer developed some issues, including one of the ever-popular ‘anti-virus’ worms. Since the unit was also well-loaded with applications and appeared to have less disk space open than we preferred, I chose to do a full, destructive format on the PC to restore it to brand-new condition. As a result of this, I experienced a Code Purple error. After trading e-mails with Desktop Support for two days, the decision was made to ship the unit back to ________ for repair. I would have been able to come to this conclusion much sooner if I had used Chat support, but Chat was not available on the day that I developed this problem. Therefore, I was stuck with e-mail.
I returned to PC in ________-provided shipping materials on December 14th. It was returned to me yesterday. Imagine my surprise to open the box and remove my PC, only to discover that the case was irreparably damaged at the top, where the front cover joins the main part of the tower case – a chunk approximately 2″ x 1.5″ had broken off, and the top edge of the front cover, above the CD/DVD drive, was cracked and covered with clear tape in some wild attempt to mask the extent of the damage. Now please imagine my further surprise to boot up the machine and find that an application called System Preparation 2.0 was coming up and requiring me to take action.
My next step was to attempt to connect to the internet to research this application. I was not immediately able to do so, because the technician who completed the repair on my PC neglected to complete set up, so that the NIC card was not recognized. Being an intermediate user, I did manage to get this problem resolved, but still had System Preparation 2.0 demanding my attention. No matter which options I chose, the application returned upon re-boot. Since it did not seem to be hurting anything, I continued downloading and installing three years’ worth of Windows and Microsoft updates, and performed an internet search to discover the nature of the application. My research indicated that this application is part of the OEM process of installing Windows XP on machines, and should, if the process has been properly completed, be removed before the unit is released to an end-user. Further, if I were to choose the wrong option, the result would be disastrous, rendering my computer unusable once more. At this point, I contacted ________ Customer Care via the chat option. After spending two full hours working with the Chat support agents Byron and Adrian, as well as a floor supervisor, the end result was that I was offered two choices to repair this problem:
- Attempt another full recovery, re-formatting the hard drive and using the recovery partition. This option did not appeal to me, on the grounds that my last attempt resulted in a Code Purple error, as well as the fact that, if the operating partition does not have Windows XP fully and correctly installed, it stands to reason that the recovery partition is not correct, either.
- Alternatively, the floor supervisor offered me the option of purchasing new recovery disks from ________, since my existing recovery disks had resulted in Code Purple, and had been rendered useless by the re-tattooing at ________’s repair facility anyway.
Pardon me? ________ failed to properly repair the PC, as mandated in a lawsuit, damaged the PC’s case, and returned that unit to me in a state in which I should not be using it, and now I have to pay ________ to resolve this problem? I find this both baffling and unacceptable. I immediately requested that my case be escalated to a manager, and am now waiting for a call from a “case manager” with ________ desktop support. I do not expect, however, that I will obtain satisfaction from this escalation. Call centers are my business, so I know the drill. The case manager is likely to pat me on the head verbally, apologize profusely, and offer me no different solution than I have already been provided. Disappointing, to say the least, and enough to ensure that my future custom will be geared toward anything but ________. I can provide photographs of the damaged unit, the e-mail support chain, and the transcripts of my chat sessions for your review upon request.
Ugh. I’m betting I don’t even get an auto-reply. But I feel slightly better for having vented my spleen – twice! 😛